Posts filed under ‘Features’

Krishna Adherents: Those Who Endured the Difficulties

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Last time they did Hare naam in the beginning of 1990s. Photo is taken from the Krishna community archieve

20 years later, in September 2013 the adherents of Krishna again performed ‘Hare Naam’ in Yerevan — they went through public places reciting the Hare Krishna Mantra, beating drums and cymbals. They walked on Abovian street, went down to the city square and circled around the lake four times.  The procession was authorized by Yerevan Municipality.

The latest “Hare Naam” was performed in early 1990s.

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25.01.2014 at 15:32 Оставьте комментарий

Coming out: Armenian lesbians raise the curtain

‘I have come to you to not be with you’ the inscription says

When Shushan first told her parents she is a homosexual, she felt all at once she is no more part of their family. Destroying the wall of double life in the family meant destroying also the perceptions of closeness according to traditional understanding of family, and building another wall estranging her from the parents.

A year later she declared of her being a homosexual all across Yerevan, when she, along with eight homosexual artist women friends, opened “Coming to you not to be with you” exhibition- video art, installation, fine arts, reading- at Utopiana NGO on 34 Zaroubyan street. The group members became the first female citizens of Armenia (two are Diaspora Armenians), which publicly revealed their homosexuality.

The statements unprecedentedly ‘shameful’ for the Yerevan society made during the exhibition of August 3 were stuck on the walls of buildings in Yerevan streets. “You are invited to a group exhibition of works by un(usual) homosexual women ‘Coming to you to not be with you’.” The name of the exhibition is born by the insult a homosexual experiences, when one confesses his or her sexual orientation to the parents and is estranged.

They are all united by being homosexual women of Armenian descent.

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19.09.2008 at 00:00 Оставьте комментарий

Nobody wins: A visit to post-war Georgia

Louisa Nersisyan and her family are now ‘residents’ of refugee camp.

Editor’s note: In late September the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (www.iwpr.net) organized a visit of Armenian, Georgian and Azerbaijani reporters to the conflict zone in Georgia to familiarize themselves with life there a month after the shooting has stopped . . . 

Gori and refugees

The three smoking buildings shown across the globe as a proof of the Russian intervention are under reconstruction with the traces of war swept away from them. But on the other side of the town is the refugee camp that speaks of the still unfinished confrontation.

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10.09.2008 at 00:00 Оставьте комментарий

A World Away from Europe: Pankisi gorge shows another face of Georgia

When still in Yerevan, we got a warning from Tbilisi that women must wear headscarves and long dresses in the Pankisi gorge. It was strange to learn that in Georgia, which is seeking membership of the European Union, there is a region where women are subjected to strict religious and patriarchic laws.

A group of journalists from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Karabakh left for the Pankisi gorge – a haven of international terrorism and bandit gangs until recently – within the framework of the IWPR Cross Caucasus Journalism Network project.

The Kistins, the population of the gorge, are part of the Vaynakh peoples (the Chechens and the Ingush), who differ from Chechens only in some nuances of dialect and make up part of the Chechen teips (Chechen tribal organizations).

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06.06.2008 at 00:00 Оставьте комментарий

The Soviet Patient: “My Heart is Black without a Grease-Paint”

The two ‘reminders’ of Soviet Union in Sevan clinic.

The two ‘reminders’ of Soviet Union in Sevan clinic.

There are two things keeping the Soviet Union alive in the Sevan psychiatric clinic: one is the star built by German POWs on one of the walls and opened from under the plaster on it. The other, Rafik Zhamkochyan, set fire on the building of the KGB, and may be Armenia’s only legitimate political prisoner not yet released.

Maybe fate had prepared a destiny of a poet for him, but poetry became the shadow that just accompanied him, during the days tasting of medicines, as he says in one of his poems.

But did he override the fate on a moment of juvenile rebelliousness or of mental unbalance? One night in 1978, at the age of 18 he threw a bottle with burning gas on the KGB building in Gyumri (the building is featured on the 1,000 dram bill). The fire spread only on the wooden balcony.

The court recognized Zhamkochyan mentally ill suffering from paranoiac schizophrenia; he was sent to the psychiatric clinic of Geghavan (which no longer exists) for compulsory treatment.

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23.05.2008 at 21:27 Оставьте комментарий

Caution Over Armenian Visits to Baku

The increasing frequency with which Armenians are visiting Azerbaijan does not mean a thaw in relations is under way.

A series of visits by Armenians to the Azerbaijani capital Baku have raised hopes that relations between the two countries might be easing, but commentators warn that in reality such trips have little wider political significance.

The two former Soviet republics have had virtually no contact since the conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorny Karabakh began in 1988. A decade ago, there was an increase in informal exchange visits, but these subsequently stopped again.

In the autumn of 2007, after a break of several years, there were three notable Armenian visits to the Azerbaijani capital. The first trip involved a group of interior ministry officials from Yerevan, the second the Armenian national wrestling team and the third was by member parliament Stepan Safarian.

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17.01.2008 at 00:00 Оставьте комментарий

Where to Turn?: A look at life in distress

Seyran tightly pulls his belly full of scars with a cloth so his body can withstand the burden of building material. Working on a construction site in 1992 he was injured and had his spleen and half of kidney removed. Two years later he underwent surgeries on his stomach and duodenum and some tube was inserted into his abdomen. He uses his half-health at a construction materials base, carries cement sacks and metals 12-14 hours a day. But the money he earns, which is a little more than $100, is not enough to keep the family happy, and his wife, 35-year-old Melania speaks slightingly of his poor health: “He is an artificial man.”

They live in the same apartment at the Abovyan hostel, but they are divorced. Forty-year-old Seyran is a refugee from Shamkhor. The difficulties of 17 years’ of married life with Melania became insurmountable in the last year and because of their troubles their three children went hungry and their life became intolerable.

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20.12.2007 at 00:00 Оставьте комментарий

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